Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Author Mohsin Hamid and The Last White Man: Inprint Houston

First line: "One morning Anders, a white man, woke up to find he had turned a deep and undeniable brown."

Author Mohsin Hamid read from his new book, The Last White Man, in Houston on Monday, August 1. The Last White Man is the story of a young man who woke up only to discover that he had become dark. The book is described as reimagining "Kakfa’s iconic The Metamorphosis for our racially charged era.”

After the reading, Hamid spoke with fellow author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Hamid said the impetus for writing the book began after September 11, 2001. For him, "a brown man with a funny name," he was saddened to find that people began to treat him differently, that he'd lost "a kind of whiteness" in which he had been "treated as a regular person." He found he wanted to write about it.

Hamid said he writes small novels. He works for seven years, he told us, and his resulting novel is only 100 pages long.

Things are changing all the time, Hamid said, and we are unmoored by change. "Change," he went on, "means we lose things." But there are only a few ways to deal with the loss that comes with change: "We can deny loss is happening or we can become pessimistic." None of these, Hamid feels, are useful responses. Instead, he encouraged us to be optimistic, have hope that categories will blur, and realize that what we see as reality isn't really real.

It was an evening, as are all Inprint author events, in which I felt a bit of hope for the world.

My reviews of Mohsin Hamid books:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist (I read this in July, 2009)
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (I read this in January, 2014)
Exit West (I read this in December, 2017)
The Last White Man (I finished it this week)

Have you read any of Mohsin Hamid's books?
Have you been to any author events lately?

For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

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